I’ve been staring at a blank post for a few weeks now unable to write. I’ve been bogged down by a few external stresses (writing my master’s thesis, finishing up my internships, moving out, etc.) that have prevented me from getting in front of the computer to write this post. Due to an expired visa, no job contract to renew, no teaching gig, and no money, the only viable option was to return to the United States. As much as I’d like to see my friends and family back home, my heart lies deeply buried in Spain and I do not want to leave. However, sometimes in life, one must do what needs to be done, and in my case, I must walk away from the place I love most. Continue reading
So what’s going on in Catalonia? Well to begin, I had a month there where I wasn’t writing because I was going through some major transitions. Apart from my visa renewal being denied, I had to move out of my flat, five of my friends here had to leave Barcelona within a week of each other, and then I had to take on everything else in life: work, finding a new flat, massive amounts of graduate school work, and still being able to go out and see my friends (the ones that remain here that is). Continue reading
I’ve been here for a good period of time now, at least long enough to notice major differences in the spoken Spanish between the Catalans and the Spanish (or at least the Madrileños). Since Catalonia is a bilingual region, they often mix the two languages. Someone like me might speak Spanglish since I’m a native English-speaker and a learned Spanish-speaker, whereas the Catalan people speak both Spanish and Catalan natively, arguably “catañol.” Another term you may hear is “charnego,” which is an offensive term for someone who has grown up here but has Spanish parents and speaks a very “castizo” (thick) version of Spanish. As in all countries, Spain has many distinct accents. Particularly here in Catalonia, one who speaks Spanish will immediately notice not just the accent, but the array of words. Continue reading
When I first began this blog, I couldn’t come up with a creative title. I didn’t want something lame – – which I must admit, that’s what I got – – or something cliché that I feel most ex-pat blogs use. I just decided on something easy: my first name and the country I’m living in. Pretty easy to remember, not too cliché, but it is admittedly pretty lame. However, I have with great pleasure come up with a complete renaming of my blog.
It began with this weekend’s trip to Madrid. Let me preface this by stating I not only got to visit my most cherished city in the entire world, but I got to go for free. Continue reading
I’ve lost count now of how many times I’ve been to Brussels. I’ve got the entire routine down, memorized, and I almost hate that because the trip is an enormous hassle. But always in the end, despite the extra-lengths of getting to and from Brussels via Spain is without a doubt worth ever second of the annoying journey.
As always I sat on the plane, and then the bus, and then the train, nervously and anxiously and excitedly awaiting my arrival at Chez Peebles. My palms were sweating and despite being exhausted, I couldn’t sleep for a second on the plane due to my unnerving excitement. Continue reading
This weekend I took a long-needed trip to Madrid, back “home.” Madrid was decorated in its finest holiday clothes: Enormous lighted Christmas trees, streets with strings of fantastic lights in the shapes of cubes, snowflakes, and other random squiggles and swirls, the people bundled in large jackets and warm black scarves, the faces of stores painted in “Feliz Navidad” and lines after lines behind the stores selling either lottery tickets or roasted chestnuts. Just how Madrid is supposed to be at Christmas time. Continue reading
Life here is finally starting to be complete. I am no longer waiting for classes to start, waiting to hear back about English classes, waiting for information about my internship, it’s all over. Now, everything has begun. I’ve given my first private English lesson, I’ve started classes at the university, and my internship is going great.
Yet it’s living in a different “country” that seems to be the only thing that is difficult for me.
When you try your hardest for so long to become fluent and culturally acceptable in one place and you pick everything up to start anew in a different region of that same country, but suddenly everyone there hates where you come from, it’s a little difficult to feel like you’re at home. Continue reading